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Greek Island/Itinerary Advice

We are a group of 8 first time travelers to Greece early this summer. We are grandparents (fit 70s), parents, and kids 5, 7, 10 &12. We live in Colorado, enjoy the outdoors, and are excited about the ancient history (son is a mythology buff), local culture and food, and natural beauty of Greece.

Arrive Athens 4:50 pm May 29, depart early June 10.

Our proposed itinerary:

May 29- Stay Athens vicinity
May 30- Rent car, drive and stay Delphi
May 31-June 2 Drive Delphi to Nafplion and stay Nafplion, day trips to Nemea (thanks Janet), Mycenae and the like
June 3- Drive Nafplion to return rental car Athens, fly to Naxos
June 3-6 Stay Naxos, poss day trip to Delos or Santorini
June 7-9 Fly and stay Athens
June 10 Depart
An alternative itinerary would be to keep the car the entire trip before Athens and drive Delphi, take the ferry from Patras to Cephalonia, stay Cephalonia 4 nights, then hit Olympia and Nafplion on the way back to Athens for our remaining nights. Cephalonia looks possibly prettier than Naxos, but Naxos seems to be more of an authentic Greek experience? The logistics of the ferry and rental car seem a bit challenging (can't seem to find Patras on the ferry sites).

Leaning to towards a hotel the first and second nights but then renting an apartment for our subsequent 3 and 4 night blocks.

Advice we would welcome:

Where to stay and what to do on the tired first night?
Where to stay at Delphi?
Must dos in and around Nafplion?
Is Naxos the right choice for island for culture, beaches, beauty, food, etc...
Do we rent a car on Naxos?
Favorite Athens neighborhoods and restaurants?

Do these plans seem reasonable/feasible? Any other thoughts or advice is definitely welcome!

Thank you.

Posted by
21289 posts

Let's see what folks who've been there more recently say, but I'd be tempted to take one day out of your Athens stop and put it elsewhere if I could get an early flight back from Naxos on June 8. You'll want to see the major classic sights in Athens, and I especially enjoyed the Museum of Cycladic Art (very contemporary-looking stuff), but the city is mostly very modern, crowded, noisy, etc. It has the historic Plaka (good for wandering on May 29) but I considered it otherwise not a particularly attractive destination. You may already know that you have enough classic sites to fill your planned time there, though.

I've never rented a car in Europe so can't help on that subject. I can definitely see the advantage on the mainland, but I suspect it wouldn't be terribly useful on Naxos. I was able to get around a good bit via public bus; you can probably find some schedules online if you look around. Taxis will take you to places inaccessible by bus, if any.

Naxos seems a good choice to me. It's not as touristy as some of the other islands, and it offers the possibility of some interesting day trips to other islands if you decide to branch out. I'm a big fan of Crete, but it's a large island that needs a lot more time than you have; I wouldn't go there for just 3 days.

Posted by
2893 posts

Don't 2nd guess yourself ... you have a good plan don't screw it up by trying for an island that's in a completely different sea. NAXOS is TOTALLY the best choice for parents & Grands with young children ... they'll be safe and can run free, shallow beachs to delight them (especially Ag. Giorgios), SO much to do, see etc. If you stay in Ag. Giorgios u are 10 minute walk to the portside & town attractions, yet nights are serene. You can get to other beaches by bus GREAT network, for car rental you will hve to do 2; car limits are 5 people, an there are almost no rental vans in the islands. Do NOT shorten your Naxos stay to add to Athens; with FOUR youngsters 2 days in big city tiring enough.

Your KEY LOGISTIC -- (do it TODAY!!!) is the flight ATH to NAXOS June 3-- if you can't get that one, everything else falls apart. Already, of the 3 daily flights, the 17:35 flight is full and the 8:20 AM is way too early. There is still room for 5 adults (sorry the 12 year old is adult) and 3 kids on the 12:55 Flight, but that could change today ... so JUMP on it NOW please please.

Lots of tips for the rest of your itinerary which i think is well planned to be do-able and memorable for both young & old ... but I will not share them until you confirm that you have booked that flight. There are several options for Return to mainland, but outbound that is your only option. Good luck!!

Travelerjan

Posted by
5 posts

Thank you all so much for the input.

We are committed to Naxos and super excited! Thank you for confirming our gut feeling. We had been very tempted by Crete, esp Samaria gorge and Knossos, but heeded the advice of those who say Crete is a vacation in and of itself. And really, does Long Island have an island feel? Maybe next visit...

Now to book great places and make plan to fill the days. Looking forward to nuggets from Janet and anyone else willing to chime in. I'm glad you withheld to make us commit! Thanks in advance.

Posted by
31513 posts

Jay,

Each driver will need an International Driver's Permit for Greece, which is used in conjunction with your home D.L. These are easily obtained at any AAA office for a small fee (Passport sized photos required, which can be taken at the office). If you're involved in any kind of "incident" and don't have an I.D.P, you may find yourself in a world of misery.

If you haven't already, you may find it helpful to have a look at Matt Barrett's excellent Greece Travel website.

Posted by
2893 posts

Will, if you will re-read the original post carefully, the "first day" is the day of arrival at 4:30 PM, of Tired people who have come all the way from Colorado (a 20 hr trip++ with 9 hr change in clock-time), and small children to boot. If they arrive at 4:30 PM, unlikely to be in cars by 6:30, and end drive by 10 pm. Surely you do not begrudge them a night in a hotel for exhaustion before their challenging agenda!